African youngsters Khololwam Montsi (South Africa) and Eliakim Coulibaly (Ivory Coast) are looking to make tennis the sporting powerhouse on the continent.
The tennis stars competed at this week’s Roland Garros Junior Championships but unfortunately, both suffered surprising second-round defeats; with Montsi defeated 4-6, 7-6, 3-6 by Britain’s Felix Gill while Coulibaly couldn’t get past France’s Martin Breysach losing 4-6, 4-6.
Their early exits, however, failed to dim their desire to become pioneers and a trailblazing force for African tennis as both are focused on the bigger picture. “It is super important for me to represent not only South Africa but the whole of Africa,” Montsi told itftennis.com
“I have so much support coming from back home and it means a lot to me to be one of the top guys from my country. Winning and doing well is my way of giving back to them.”
“Tennis is not the biggest sport for us but I want to try and get it onto the same stage as rugby union, cricket and football. I love putting that level of expectation on myself and I don’t see it as any weight on my shoulders.” He further stated
Coulibaly also spoke saying “It is really difficult to make it in Africa, to come from Africa and make it to the top is tough,”
“I truly want to make Africa famous, that is my goal with Kholo. We are trying to get Africa to the top and give Africa what it hasn’t had for a long time.”
“Africa is not known for tennis but earlier this year two players from Africa were in the Top 20 [of the boys’ rankings] for the first time in history. I am proud of that and I really want to do this for Africa.” He concluded
Montsi and Coulibaly’s exit from the competition means that Africa is still on the hunt for a Junior Grand Slam winner the last coming back in 2011 when Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur triumphed on the clay of Paris.